Hiking Gray Peak and Mount Skylight

Happy fall! I celebrated the first weekend of fall by hiking, of course! My friend Jenna and I drove up to the ADK Loj to hike Gray Peak and Mount Skylight. We got an early start because it is a long hike! We left the Exit 9 Park and Ride at 4:35AM and got to the Loj around 7, and were on the trail by 7:15. We were at Marcy Dam by 8:05AM.



We got the the Phelps/Marcy and Avalanche Lake junction and went right to take the Avalanche Lake trail. At 8:40 we got to the junction for Lake Arnold and took a left. We were going to go past Lake Arnold and up to Lake Tear of the Clouds to get to Gray Peak.









The trail through here was really pretty! There were some bogs we crossed between Mt. Colden and Gray which were interesting. Thankfully there were planks to cross! Eventually we came to the junction for Lake Tear of the Clouds, the highest point of the Hudson River and also where the herd path for Gray Peak picks up. We arrived there at 10:53 AM.


We got there around 11:45  and saw the cairn that marked the herd path to Gray. We realized that it crossed over the stream and started up again on the other side, it’s unmarked but pretty obvious.


We started climbing Gray at about 11:45AM. The first part of the herd path was a bit tricky. There was a huge cliff with a pretty big drop off–if you were tall and had long legs it would be easy. But neither one of us has those-so we skirted around to the left of the cliff and found our way down pretty easily. Anyone who says Gray has no views is lying!


We could see Skylight–our next destination!



We stopped at a lookout a little bit from the summit to have a snack.


Can’t forget about the summit pic. Got there around 12:20.




A great view of Marcy and Skylight from our snack spot. After about 10 minutes we headed back down the herd path to Lake Tear of the Clouds.




We got back down to the lake at around 1:00 and started heading left at the cairn to get back on the marked trail to Skylight. At 1:12 we hit “Four Corners”, where there was a sign marking a trail to Marcy and a trail to Skylight.


We followed the trail to the summit of Skylight, which was steep and rocky, and after hiking almost 10 miles already, I was tired. But, once we got up top at 1:37, I knew it was all worth it.





I could have stayed up here all day! Skylight was amazing. And it was also my 30th high peak! I can’t believe I’m at 30 peaks!





Jenna and I stayed on the summit for maybe 10 minutes and had the entire thing to ourselves. I could have stayed forever, but we had a loooong way to go back to the car. Eight miles of hiking, back the way we came. And we wanted to get out before dark! We knew that there was a strong possibility that we would be hiking out with headlamps. Thankfully, we were back at the trail register by 6:30PM and it was still daylight.



What a long, long, day. Skylight was one of my favorite summits so far, but it just takes so long to get there. I would highly recommend this as an overnight. Most of the people we saw were staying at lean-tos and I must admit I was a bit jealous. But, I guess that makes us more badass for completing this hike in day trip.


Gray Peak and Mount Skylight 
Distance 17.7 mi RT
Time: 11.5 hours
Total Elevation Gain: 4,343′

Gear used Osprey Sirrus Daypack, Kelty trekking poles, Smartwool socks, Under Armor Crops, Icebreaker merino wool base layer top, Keen Durand hiking boots, 3L Platypus bladder, 1L Nalgene

50 Mi Tour de Habitat

Saturday morning I rode in the Tour de Habitat, a local bike ride to benefit the Habitat for Humanity. I rode this ride a few years ago and was happy to see that it was happening again after a few years off. The Habitat for Humanity builds and rehabilitates homes and brings neglected neighborhoods back to life.


There ride began at Druthers Brewing Company in Downtown, Albany. I was doing the 50 mile ride! I was a little nervous because I haven’t been road biking in a while and the last time I rode that far was back in July. Oops.

Thankfully, I felt great all day! I brought along two 25 oz water bottles, snacks such as Gu, Honey Stinger Waffles and a cliff bar. There were three aid stations on the route that provided water, electrolytes, and pb&j sandwiches! There were about 25 riders doing the 50 miles. The route took us south of Albany all the way to Alcove, NY. I’m really familiar with area since I grew up south of Albany so it was nice to ride some familiar roads. The scenery was gorgeous!



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3 hours, 46 minutes of riding later I was riding back into Druthers! They were serving pizza and beer at the post-ride party.


Very delicious after such a long ride!

Recap of Summer Hiking

Summer 2015 was definitely the best summer for hiking I’ve had! It was incredible because I didn’t have a single bad weather day! Here’s a little recap.


Pyramid, Gothics, Armstrong & Upper Wolf Jaw Mountains


This was my first big hike of the year. I hiked a few times before this just to get my legs in shape and tackled most of the lower great range with Brendan back in June. It was a long day, but had some great views. I felt strong and this hike convinced me that I wanted to take on a bunch of high peaks this summer.


Street and Nye Mountains


This hike was a blast. It was the largest group I’ve hiked with and we had fun crossing streams and climbing the unmarked Street and Nye, even though we had limited views.

Algonquin, Iroquois and Wright Peaks

This had to be one of my favorite hikes this summer. Jenna and I climbed the second highest peak in NY, Algonquin, along with its neighbors, Iroquois and Wright. We had one of the best days I’ve had hiking and it was quite memorable.


Black Mountain Firetower


I started August with a smaller hike. Near Lake George, Black Mountain is one of the nice easy hikes closer to the Capital Region. It has awesome views of Lake George was a fun hike.

Lower Wolfjaw Mountain

Lower Wolfjaw marked my halfway point of hiking the 46, so it will remain memorable, even if it was a super steep hike and I felt like I wanted to die on the way up. (It really wasn’t that bad. 😉 )

Mount Colden via Avalanche Pass


Hiking through Avalanche Pass was high on my hiking bucket list and walking through there was an eerie but gorgeous sight. Again, we had one of the most beautiful days and tackled Mount Colden from the steep route. It was a long one, but well worth it. Colden is now one of my favorite mountains.

Mount Marcy


In August I finally got to take Jordan hiking with me in the high peaks! He loved it and now wants to be a 46er too. The views from Marcy were amazing and I will definitely be back up there again in the future.

The Santanoni Range


It was rather fitting that my last summer high peaks would be some of the hardest I’ve done. The Santanoni Range was no walk in the park. Taking nearly 13 hours, I was glad to check these peaks off the list.

And with that, I ended Summer hiking with fantastic views from Indian Head.


Christine and I hiked together to finally check out Indian Head, where some of the best views in the high peaks can be found. I will most definitely hike this one again!

I’d say that was a successful summer. But I’m really excited for fall hiking–where cooler temperatures, crunchy leaves and autumn colors await!

Mountain Biking at Garnet Hill

Because of the Monday holiday, Jordan and I actually had the same day off for once! We took the opportunity to go mountain biking in the Adirondacks with some friends at Garnet Hill. Three years ago I stayed at the Lodge and did some hiking on the trails and it was nice to finally be back!

According to their site, two of the trails we rode were “advanced”–but I beg to differ. I didn’t have to get off my bike that much! The first time I rode a mountain bike back in June on actual trails, we went on really difficult ones and I was hardly ever on the bike.


These were labeled the “expert” trails. Little by little I’m getting the hang of mountain biking! Its still a bit scary for me but it’s fun. I’m more of a slow adventurer. Mountain biking can be fast and scary.


We rode for about three hours and found ourselves at an old garnet mine.


There were actually garnets mixed in with the gravel on the ground. That was pretty cool.

After riding, we went to the lodge to check out the view and then drove down to Thirteenth Lake. It was getting really hot in the sun, so decided to call it a day.




The leaves are starting to turn in the Adirondacks already!

Find it:

Hiking Indian Head

Hope everyone is having a fantastic holiday weekend! It really is still summer because the weather here has been quite hot and amazing. Yesterday, Christine and I wanted to do an easy hike so we decided on Indian Head, a spot in the high peaks that is not a high peak but has an amazing view. We left Albany at 7:30 and drove up to the Ausable Club Parkin lot in Keene since that’s where the trail for Indian Head starts. The hike begins at the AMR gate (like many of the other hikes I’ve done).


The hike itself is mostly just a dirt road walk. It wasn’t too exciting. Until the Ausable Club shuttle driver pulled over and told us that there was a BEAR up ahead in the beaver pond! He said the bear was young and wouldn’t bother us because it was far enough away. Sure enough, we continued down the road and when we got the beaver pond, there he was!


Its hard to see, but the black blob in the middle of the picture is a black bear! It was the first time I had seen a bear hiking. I knew it would happen sooner or later because I’m out in the woods a lot. Bears are active in this area so it’s good to be cautious! He started running away and climbed right up a tree. Too funny.  I can’t believe we saw a bear!

Anyway, four miles of walking down the road later, we came to a trail on the left right before we got to Ausable Lake.


The trail to Indian head was less than a mile up and soon enough we hit the junction for Gothic Window.


Gothic Window is a clearing through the trees where you can see Gothics. But there’s a much better view just head on Indian Head itself.


Christine and I had both been dying to get to Indian Head. The views from the cliff are iconic and we’ve seen them for ages all over the internet. One photo was even my iPhone background. Steeping onto the lookout cliff was surreal.

You can’t even believe what are you looking at! Its just breathtaking.


You can see upper and lower Ausable Lake, along with Sawteeth, Gothics, Armstrong, Upperwolfjaw and Lower Wolfjaw on the right.


Gothics and Pyramid.


Also, Cloudline sent me a pair of their technical hiker socks to try out on my hikes.



What I love about Cloudline wool socks:

They are made of premium merino wool. Their merino wool blend naturally regulates moisture, temperature, and has antibacterial properties that resist odor. Also, they are made in the USA which is always a nice bonus! The socks are thick and cozy! They may have been a tad bit too warm for a hot 80 degree day in the mountains, but I can’t wait to wear them when snowshoeing and hiking this winter! Their technical hiker socks run $20 a pair on their website and are currently having a free shipping promo for labor day weekend!


Extremely happy feet! These socks are also available on Amazon!


Anyway, Christine and I sat at the top of Indian Head for a while, ate our lunch and took a bunch of crazy pictures since we had the summit to ourselves the entire time.




It was a day well spent! I would HIGHLY recommend this hike. The hardest part is the distance since you are walking: 8 miles total out and back on the dirt road. The trail itself up to Indian Head was easy.

Indian Head
Total Distance 9.3 miles RT
Total hiking time 5 hours 13 minutes (includes long break on top)
Ascent 1,552′
Elevation 2,634′

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